Gayle Zolaturiuk, born and raised in the Hammer, bought the winning ticket at Big Bear Food Mart on Limeridge Road West in Hamilton.
“Each week I only play one Quick Pick and one ENCORE. I always said that you just need one ticket. But I was still in disbelief when I checked my ticket and discovered that I was the winner of the big jackpot,” said Zolaturiuk, who discovered she had won after checking her ticket online.
“My heart started racing. I just couldn’t believe it. I kept looking at it again and again to make sure I was really seeing what I was seeing,” she explained.
“I called OLG to find out what to do and then went to my local store to validate the ticket. I tried to stay calm throughout this process, though.”
Zolaturiuk also joked Friday that she had a lucky charm that may have helped her win: a recently-adopted black cat.
“It’s just ironic that only a few weeks after this cat came into my life I win the lottery."
She said she has started celebrating already by going on a mini shopping spree.
“It was such a great feeling to hit the shops and get some new things for myself,” she explained.
Zolaturiuk, in her early 50s, said she'll use the money to take care of her family, travel and buy a new home.
"She's a wonderful lady. She's very happy, genuinely excited and says it's really going to make a big difference in her life," Sarah Kiriliuk, a spokesperson for the Ontario Lottery Gaming Commission, said.
This is the second time this year that a large 6/49 jackpot ticket was sold in Ontario. In January, a Collingwood resident claimed a $3.5 million Lotto 6/49 jackpot prize. A Toronto man also won $20 million in Lotto Max the same month.
A Hamilton man who had a $16.1-million winning ticket in a draw last summer is still waiting to claim his prize, as he owns a store that sells OLG tickets and has to go through a lengthy verification process before getting his cheque. If all goes well, the OLG will hand the money over to him by March 22.